Iran has denied involvement in rocket attacks on the Golan Heights that led to Israeli strikes on Iranian sites in Syria. The UN has called for an end to “hostile acts” amid fears of further escalation.
Iran on Friday rejected accusations by Israel that it had fired rockets at Israeli positions in the Golan Heights, describing them as ” freely invented and baseless” charges designed to justify Israel’s own attacks on Syria.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi also criticized the international community for not condemning Israeli airstrikes in Syria on Thursday that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a retaliation against Iran’s aggression.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi
Its silence “only gives the Zionist regime (Israel) the green light for further aggressions that serve only to make the region more insecure and unstable,” he said.
The defense committee of Iran’s parliament also said Iranian forces had nothing to do with the attacks on Israeli positions.
“This is another lie from the Zionist regime for propaganda purposes, ” said committee spokesman Mohammad Nabandegani. Nobandegani also denied that Iran had any military forces in Syria at all.
Israel announced early on Thursday that its forces had hit “almost all” Iranian infrastructure sites in Syria during airstrikes carried out in retaliation for Iran’s firing of 20 rockets into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Netanyahu said that Iran had “crossed a red line” with the rocket attacks.
The attacks were some of the worst direct violence between arch rivals Israel and Iran in years and have raised fears of a wider conflict in the region. Israel has long expressed concern that Iran could establish a military presence in Syria amid the instability caused by Syria’s long-running civil war.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres echoed fears of further escalation in a tweet in which he called for an end to “all hostile acts and any provocative actions.”
A UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told reporters that Guterres had been in contact “with various people at various levels” about the attacks.
‘Right to self-defense’
Germany’s Foreign Ministry has sided with Israel in condemning Iranian aggression. In a tweet, it said the rocket attacks were “a serious provocation that we condemn in the harshest way possible. Israel has, as we have stated several times, a right to self-defense.”
Washington also slammed what it called “the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks” and reiterated its support for “Israel’s right to act in self-defense.”
Israel’s UN ambassador, Danny Danon, has called on the UN Security Council and Guterres to condemn Iran and call on Tehran to remove its forces from Syria.
However, in light of the divisions within the Security Council over Syria, it seems unlikely that the body will issue any statement on the matter.
tj/ng (AP, dpa, Reuters)